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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Evening with Friends - Dutch's & Restaurant Week at Hugo's!

Our good friends invited us out to dinner as a thank you for being the best kitty sitters in the world (I'm a little biased). We decided to go out for Restaurant Week! If you're not familiar - it's a week where restaurants offer special deals on a limited menu. This year it was $26.11 per person and you were typically having 3 courses with 1-3 options per course.

But before we headed out for our delicious dinner, we stopped at Dutch's Wine Bar in East Hyde Park.

It's been there for quite a while as a place to purchase beer/wine but recently added on to include a wine bar and patio!

They have quite a selection of beers and wines - they always have new things on tap as well. If you're a fan of either - it's a good stop. Most everybody was heading out to the patio because it was a beautiful 50 degree evening!

Larry went to the bathroom and had to take a picture because it was so unique. I have to say - it was definitely picture worthy! Pretty hip for a urinal! haha

Dutch's Bar & Bottle Shop on Urbanspoon

After Dutch's, we made the short trip over to Hugo in Oakley. I went to Hugo's once for Restaurant Week a few years ago but haven't been back - so I was very excited.

Rob decided he had to get some of their fritters (Sweet Corn, Mascarpone, Thyme, Chili Jam $8). Larry couldn't eat them because they did have eggs - but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed them. I wasn't a big fan of the jam but they were very tasty with the butter. They had a nice sugar coating on the outside as well. They're definitely not what I was expecting - almost like a donut texture.

We also were brought out fresh bread - delicious. I have to say - this experience was definitely better than the last time. They used to only allow the Restaurant Week diners to eat in the bar area - now - you can sit in with the regular folks. RW has been much more widely adopted so I'm not surprised to see this happen. It's really a great chance to try someplace you might not regularly go at a more affordable price.

We all chose the Fried Green Tomatoes for the First Course (Confit Tomato, Buttermilk, Crab $9 - prices listed are regular menu price - not what we paid or portion size for Restaurant Week). I have often heard about these but never tried them.

We also all got the Hugo salad (New Potato, Local Greens, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Pommery Vinaigrette $8) - great minds were thinking alike - for the Second Course. This is a very interesting salad - there was hardly any goat cheese (boo!) and the potatoes were an interesting ingredient. But all in all - I did like it.

Larry finally bucked the trend and got something different! For the Third Course he chose the fresh fish ($25) and it was salmon. He definitely enjoyed it - I'm guessing the portion size is a bit smaller than a regular menu portion - but with the bread & 3 courses - he was full enough. 

The rest of us went for the Hugo specialty of Shrimp & Grits (Grits, White Cheddar, Tasso Ham, Herbs, Demi $26). Wow is all I can say. I don't really like grits - of course the only grits I'd had were at Waffle House. These were delicious! I mean - they are gritty - but the cheddar definitely made them delicious. The shrimp was so large and flavorful. It was decadent! I'd be hard-pressed to try anything else when I return!

Now although we were all full and happy - our fantastic waiter came back and asked us about dessert. There were two items that jumped out at us. First Rob & Sarah got the peanut butter pie - we snagged a bite and it was delicious. For Larry - it was egg-free! That's a homemade marshmallow on the side too.

I was stopped instantly on the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding...holy moly I had to get that! It was really great - moist, warm and rich. The ice cream added a great creaminess to the dessert. It was really delicious.

I also want to add - our server was fantastic. We mentioned Larry's egg allergy and he immediately went back and checked with the Chef. He came back and let us know that 99% of the Restaurant Week menu was egg-free! His excellent service was definitely appreciated.

Why Should You Go? Hugo was a really great experience. It's a very cozy and pretty restaurant on the inside. It has a warmth about it in the ambiance and the food. I loved it and would definitely go back for a special occasion.

Hugo on Urbanspoon
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